A HIGH-profile human rights activist spoke at length last night to an audience at Bradford University about her work countering extremism.

Sara Khan, 37, who grew up in Bradford and still has family in the city, lectures and advises the Government, the European Parliament, police, schools, the media and communities on how to combat the rise of radicalisation in Britain.

She was invited to the informal 'conversation lecture' by Blackwells Bookstore, in the university, to talk about her book, The Battle for British Islam, to mark Academic Book Week.

The talk was chaired by Dr Afshin Shahi, of the University of Bradford.

"The book has been deliberately written so it is understandable," said Mrs Khan, who co-wrote it with Tony McMahon, an independent consultant working with the Government and civil society groups on counter-extremism projects.

"It gives a vision of hope of how we can get out of this (Islamist) place. British Islam is not a new concept but it is a matter of accepting the culture. There has been a change in generations and a shift in how British Muslims perceive themselves.

"Extremism is a growing worry. The people who are opposed to British Islam are those on the far right and those within Islamist groups who believe Islam is in opposition to the West.

"I am trying to stop the extremism, discrimination and radicalisation and tell people that they can embrace the Western culture. We have to defend the middle ground.

"Islamist groups embrace violence and hatred where British Islam is meant to embrace diversity, equal rights and understanding.

Topics discussed included the Government's Prevent Strategy set up to deal with terrorist threats from home and abroad.

Mrs Khan said fake news, lies and Islamist groups had led to the Prevent strategy to be fiercely criticised in some quarters. She said the strategy was not perfect but that was being rectified because the Government had failed to properly communicate what it did.

She also spoke about discrimination among Muslim women and how they were being stifled in standing up for themselves.

She also said British Muslims were diverse and it was wrong for one person or group to say they represented them.

"There is no one-size-fits all in Muslim history."

Mrs Khan, a mother of two daughters, who studied pharmacy before taking an MA in human rights, co-founded Inspire, in 2008, a non-governmental women's rights and counter-extremism organisation and launched the MakingAStand campaign in 2014, a grassroots movement to reject the so-called Islamic State.

The campaign was endorsed at its launch by Theresa May when she was Home Secretary.

She was in the BBC Woman's Hour Power List of top ten influencers in 2015 and last year was winner of Marie Claire Future Shapers Award, shortlisted for Red Women of the Year Award and winner of Asian Women of Achievement Award.

"I have fought against groups like ISIS and yet I have been called Islamaphobic, in fact all the names under the sun by Imams who don't like my interpretation of Islam," she said.

"It is really quite troubling. I have dealt with numerous cases of extremism, even among very young children, and it is frightening."

The Battle for British Islam is priced at £14.99.